week 9: Smoke Signals

A movie about native American Indians based on a story by an actual native American Indian; Sherman Alexie.

By watching Alexie’s interview by Bill Moyers first I got a better understanding about the Indian culture, and traits that Alexie then added in the movie, such as alcoholism.

The movie was cosy and must have been low budget based as its very simply done, even if it was back and forth scenes between the past and present.
Taken place mainly on the reservation we again see a beautiful nature…reminds me of how sad it is that our culture & society neglects it, its sad that we don’t appreciate the nature around us.

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(f.l Thomas & Victor, screenshot from movie)

Victor and Thomas is the main characters in the movie, childhood friends with inconveniences here and there.
Victor may have had the slightly bigger role, however I paid more attention to Thomas, I love that he was true to himself & his culture/heritage. It may sound stereotypical but he was portrayed as how I expected an Indian to be. In a good way (!!) 
I do not mean to stereotype anyone or negatively call someone out, the complete opposite… I love the humans differences and I believe it something we should embrace and learn from… Its a good thing that we’re not all the same because how boring would our lives be?
We need to question our beliefs and get other point of views to become better people ourselves.

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(Sherman Alexie – picture from Bill Moyers interview)

Back to the interview between Alexie & Moyers, I could really relate to certain aspects of Alexie’s life, as he mention fitting in and not fitting in… born an Indian but looking like a mixed “race” (yes quote marks as we all are of the human “race”).  I myself is of mixed heritage and although I am consider white in America back in Sweden with my dark features I was often asked where I came from… I like Alexie can also make conversations from both sides of the table so to speak.. however being able to “fit in” here and there have had an opposite effect on me, i don’t feel like I fit in… anywhere…

One usually fit in with people with same culture, values&beliefs, religion and or other similarities.. I’m considering myself an atheist white/latina woman..I like to have a “hippie” mindset where peace is the main focus. Free spirit people are a rare breed in a capitalistic world and maybe that why I feel so lonely?

week 8: Billy Elliot

The award winning movie about a boy overcoming his own and his families prejudices towards males dancing ballet. A touching movie which ironically enough didn’t touch me. I have chosen not to watch this movie before because I got a sense that I wouldn’t like it… and now that I had to watch it I found myself having a hard time paying attention, it just didn’t get me caught up in it…

However, yes I can see the cultural aspect of the movie, it takes place in a 1984 English countryside, at the same time as the miner’s strike (where Billy’s dad & brother works), this pushing on the gender roles and their “right” ways of being, as no mines has female workers. Yes the main theme of the movie might very well be gender and what one should and should not do according to “gender rules”.
Being 11 might not be as much of a struggle as being a teenager, but having to deal with the loss of a parent is not a child’s task, I think that when Billy discovered ballet and dancing he finds a way to deal with his loss, it gives him a way to express his sorrows, anger and joy. Expressing oneself in any form of art has a healing effect, at least in my own experience, I mean I agree with Billy when he describes how dancing makes him feel and that it easier to let go of things and not think about it.
Unfortunately like with everything hobbies takes time and my own dancing has been put on hold whilst I still try to keep up with photography and drawing.

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Its ironic that the movie contains few female actresses as gender differences seem to be so important to them (writers/directors). This movie came out in 2000, and as I said takes place in 1984, our society looks at things differently now, thankfully. We have done some progress, but far from enough, as long as blue will be seen as a “boy” color and pink as a “girl” color we are gonna have to work for gender equality. No one should have to hide who they really are, and whatever our interests are shouldn’t matter.
Pursuing our own dreams should be everyones life goal, not our parents dream, nor teachers or other.. because its yourself who has to live with the decisions.
I didn’t like the movie as much as many others, maybe because I think this topic should be a given, because it is to me, I don’t care what you like as long as you don’t force me in to it. At the same time I won’t stop you from doing what you like. with the exception that it doesn’t hurt anyone else..

We should all learn to just accept, respect and believe in ourselves, just like Billy ended up doing!
My favorite scene is when he’s dancing on the rooftops & streets and billy-elliot_06.jpg…just exploding in electricity..

week 7: Songcatcher

I don’t think i would ever have watched the Songcatcher if it wasn’t for this class, but I’m glad I did because I kinda liked it. It was a pretty movie.. beautiful might be a better word? It was almost all nature through out the movie and i liked it.

I enjoyed the movie for many reasons not only the nature scenery. I liked that there was a lot of music in it, even if it was old scots-irish folk songs and ballads. The sound was soothing, and seeing Dr. Penleric  and the apparatus she has to use to record songs, it reminds me on how far the progress of technology has come. How easy it is for almost anyone to just press play on ones phone and then record whatever one want. And if we don’t like what we  record we can always erase and re-do it. The dedication, energy and tolerance for such work back then. songcatcher-2.jpg

I also like that they decided to have a lesbian couple in a movie taking place in the early 1900’s. Another reminder of our progress and the struggle for people to be able to be with whom ever they like. I mean there is still people out there committing the same sort of hate crime as some of the men did in the movie. Kind of make you think how we can be so far along in technology advancement and still have so far to go in human knowledge and common sense.
Anyway, I liked everyones accent it really added to their characters and the setting of the movie, it enjoyed the movie so much i actually cried towards the end. 11.jpg

week 6: Mi Familia/La Mission

We had to watch two movies this week, both about mexican-american families, both which confirmed or supported some of my prejudices about the meximerican culture.

I watched La Mission first, and for a movie being that long (1h55min) I was expecting another or better ending. Im not gonna spoil the movie as I did like it for the most part and for anyone interested in watching it should. Both the mural art and car art symbolized a lot of culture, family and religion confirming the prejudices about mexican-american catholics. Also supporting that is the fathers reaction when he finds out the truth about his son.  The son who in my opinion portrayed the most masculine role, which is no surprise as a homosexual male in a catholic environment has to come across as strong to not lose face.
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In Mi Familia a movie I must say I liked better we get a whole life story told to us and I really enjoyed the history part in the movie. I loved how the house was the meeting point, the center of the movie, it made it easier to understand the family value and connection they all had. It again is confirming the meximerican culture but also helps in understanding their values and beliefs. I also enjoyed that each room in the house had a different strong color, it was suited with the way the movie was shown, time periodically. In both movies the message is the importance of family, and that the struggle is part of life, we get through it, we fight and we survive with the help and understanding from the people around us. Our family.

These movies are both being portrayed to take place no later than the 80s-90s, (yes Mi familia start out way earlier) and what I notice is that there is still people living like they do, there is still these division between people, culture and class, 20-30 years later and we still struggle with this… makes you question if it will ever change..

week 5: Buena Vista Social Club

Overall a nice little movie about a musician (Ry Cooder) who travelled to Cuba to meet people who are still in touch with there culture & music. He wanted a view of Cuba that didn’t focus on their politics but on their music.

Unfortunately I didn’t get capture in it, the intro with jumping back and forth between looking for the location where the Social club had been and the set up of the concert mad it hard for me to follow and pay attention.
Latino music in my opinion is always beautiful, and having a mom with her roots in Peru latino music has always been a part of my life, so the music they played in this movie really reminded me of home and made me reminisce back to my childhood. All in all it made me miss my mom a little more than before.. ( she’s all fine and that its just that my family is all the way in Sweden when I’m writing this, and distance is always a bummer)

What I liked and appreciated with this movie was the footage of it, the pictures of Havana and Cuba overall, I would love to travel over there. Cuba has always seemed like a country with a lot of culture, and is so different from the society I’ve been growing up with and know of. The old architect and history makes me think about what I think Ibrahim Planes said “we have learned to resist both the good and the bad” which I understood as while a lot of other countries accepted the “good” of commercialized & mainstream consumption Cuba and the cubans  didn’t. They still have their culture & their companionship for each other. I think that is really beautiful.  It was also great to see these old men (and woman) with such energy & joy, I hope I at least got half of that when Im in my 90’s.